Tom Tugendhat MP says MOD resources shouldn't be used for dogs
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Speaking to LBC on Saturday, the MP for Tonbridge and Malling and former British Army officer questioned the resources required to get Pen Farthing, a former Royal Marines commando and founder of Kabul animal rescue centre Nowzad and hundreds of his animals on a plane while humans are left in Afghanistan. In a sobering reflection following Mr Farthing’s evacuation, Mr Tugendhat told how one interpreter asked “why is my five-year-old worth less than your dog?” before questioning host Matt Frei on how he would feel if an ambulance was sent to rescue a dog and not his mother.
Mr Frei asked the MP if Mr Farthing’s flight was “the right thing or the wrong thing to do”.
Mr Tugendhat replied: “People have been focusing on the aeroplanes. It is not the aeroplanes that are the problem.
“There is quite a lot of space on the aeroplanes, they are coming and going relatively easily.
“The difficulty is getting people into and out of the airport and we have just used a lot of troops to bring in 200 dogs.
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“Meanwhile my interpreter’s family are likely to be killed.”
He added how another interpreter asked him why his five-year-old child is “worth less than your dog”.
“I didn’t have an answer, what would your answer be?” he said.
Mr Frei refused to answer the question before saying the MP made a good point.
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Mr Tugendhat went on to suggest that the resources used to help Mr Farthing and his animals could have been used elsewhere as he went on to compare the situation to a medical emergency.
He said: “We run an NHS in the United Kingdom that taxes us all about one in every seven pounds we spend.
“What would you say if I sent an ambulance to save my dog rather than to save your mother?”
Pen Farthing with his 140 dogs and 60 cats are now on a flight back to the UK having had to leave the Afghan staff who helped at the shelter behind.
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Mr Farthing’s “Operation Ark” campaign to get his animals out of the country became hugely successful on social media but Defence Secretary Ben Wallace complained it was distracting those focusing on evacuating the most vulnerable.
Events took a turn for the worst after Mr Farthing was turned away from the airport after queuing for over a day to get a flight out of the country leaving him and his staff fearing for their lives.
However, on Friday the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced Mr Farthing and his animals were on the brink of escape.
In a tweet, the MoD said: “Pen Farthing and his pets were assisted through the system at Kabul airport by the UK Armed Forces. They are currently being supported while he awaits transportation.
“On the direction of the Defence Secretary, clearance for their charter flight has been sponsored by the UK Government.”
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